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Schools to get sun smart with help from Cancer Council

Sun smart kid: Natasha Silabon, 9, puts on some sunscreen.
Sun smart kid: Natasha Silabon, 9, puts on some sunscreen. John Gass

ALTHOUGH the school holidays are nearing their end, the summer sun continues to have its effect and the sun smart message remains an important one to follow.

Most adults are well aware of the 'slip, slop, slap, cover up and wear a hat' message promoted by the Cancer Council but kids are less well-informed and need guidance and protection.

Unfortunately, even the organisations which parents expect would look after their kids' welfare aren't always as well prepared as parents would like.

Cancer Council NSW spokesperson Rhian Patton-Kelly said surprisingly only 46% of northern rivers schools have an appropriate sun smart policy in place and need to provide more and better safeguards to ensure their students remain safe in the sun.

"In term one, the Cancer Council will conduct a 'Sun Smart Blitz' and visit schools in northern NSW to help them develop appropriate policies to protect their students.

"Apart from the well known measures such as slip, slop, slap, there is a number of other strategies schools can put in place to protect their students," Ms Patton-Kelly said.

The Cancer Council would encourage schools to provide shaded areas for students to play at recess and lunchtime and institute a 'no hat, no play' policy.

"We'd also like to see schools give their students recess and lunchtime breaks at a time of the day when the sun isn't at its strongest.

"When we visit schools during the blitz, we'll assist them in setting up appropriate strategies to tackle the issue and will offer participating schools an incentive.

The schools which put a sun smart policy in place will receive enough sun screen to protect their students for one year," Ms Patton-Kelly said.

It was important for students to be familiar with these measures so they would establish a pattern of behaviour which would stay with them for the rest of their lives.

"If we establish this pattern of behaviour early in kids' lives, it's all the more effective and will hopefully be passed on through the generations," Ms Patton-Kelly said.

Reader poll

Should schools be doing more to protect children from sun damage?

This poll ended on 18 February 2013.

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Topics:  cancer council australia, sun smart


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